We know his story. We have all had the anticipation build over the past couple of years. Of course, with the trailers, TV spots, and countless toys that have flooded the local retail stores, oh and let us not forget the fact that everyone's favorite arachnid is going to be gracing your favorite gaming system, it is to be expected. It is now time to decide if the hype has been worth it. As we wait for the theme music to fill the theaters and as our anticipation builds even more than it was when we first sat down, will the movie deliver? At a special midnight showing, I found out.
For those that need a refresher course, the main story of the Spider-man films is centered on Peter Parker. Peter was your above average geek in the truest sense of the word, until one day when the bite of a genetically altered spider changed his life forever. Soon, Peter discovers that he has gained the abilities of a spider. All of the wall-crawling, agility, bounding, and, of course, the webbing, except they come from his hands and not the traditional way of most spiders - thankfully. However, there is a lesson that Peter would learn that would pave the road that he will travel for the rest of his life. A lesson that is simple enough to learn - with great power, comes great responsibility.
Spider-man 3 picks up almost right after the end of Spider-man 2. Peter has finally figured out to maintain a balance between the life he wants with Mary Jane and the heroic duties that have befallen him as Spider-man. In fact, everything in Peter's life is going good, but as many fans of Spider-man know, when Peter's life is going good, it is only a matter of time before he comes crashing down. It is an art form that director Sam Raimi seems to have a knack for. If you need further proof, look for the classic Darkman movies as he beautifully captures the downward spiral everyone should have expect as they comfortable adjust into their seats. This is also where Tobey Maguire's real acting chops have the opportunity to shine through the face mask.
Along with Tobey's performance as the most convincing portrayal of Spider-man to date, there is a sense of meaning in the film that has been broadened upon from the earlier installments. Where the depth and emotion of the second one was a vast improvement from the original, Spider-man 3 takes the notion of improving the character depth of the film to that next level. There's humor rolled into a nice mixture of anguish and inner turmoil of the characters. Add this to the amount of action that has been jolted up a notch, and you have a completion to a trilogy that most will not want to see end.
Unfortunately, with the solid performances of the core cast, some will feel the effects of the more than one villain curse in comic films. It was something that truly began with Batman Returns, and ever since, once a film that pertains to only one character is slated to have more than one villain in the film, we all begin to tremble with fear. While there might be a few problems with the usage of villains, Spider-man 3 does deliver on rapidly capturing the origins of the villains. That being said, there was one character that I felt that there was more to him than what we were being shown, Sandman. It was that in every shot of Thomas Hayden Church you felt that there was something there that you wanted him to say or do, but, alas, he did not. Not to say that Topher Grace did not do a great job as Venom, rather the opposite. Grace's portrayal of Eddie Brock, Jr. was spot-on, but his Venom just wasn't as believable. I can definitely say that Sandman or Venom should have been the only villain in the film and not both. Again, this is mainly due to the lack of real character development, aside from Spider-man.
Limiting the script to just Sandman or Venom would have done a couple of things. One, it would have ensured us a fourth film. Two, it would have made sure that the core and supporting cast would have received enough screen time. Three, it would have helped pace the movie a little better. Instead of focusing on the fast-paced action, we could have dove deeper into the character relationships that have already been built up.
Other than the more-than-one-villain curse, Spider-man 3 answers the question of whether or not Spidey will be huge. A resounding yes. The more accurate word on the delivery of Spider-man would be Amazing or Spectacular. It is a fitting way to end the first part in Peter Parker's life. Go see it with your family, friends, and loved ones and become re-hooked on one of the most recognizable characters in the world, all over again. Be sure to check back here at CCC as the reviews for the latest of the web-slinger's video games; after you have seen the movie, of course.
Movie Score: 3 out of 4 Stars
CCC Freelance Writer